This air fryer chicken quarters recipe is quick and easy. With only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep, you’ve got a wholesome meal on the table in no time. It’s naturally keto, paleo, Whole30, dairy-free and gluten-free.
With a simple spice rub made of paprika, granulated garlic and black pepper, this chicken dinner is way more flavorful than you can imagine. There’s no flour or breading, which is perfect for a low-carb diet.
This air fryer recipe is based on my popular Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe. I decided to try it in the air fryer, and it turned out great!
We’re a small family, so it’s perfect for cooking a meal in the air fryer and leaving the oven for baking dessert!
This recipe is my go-to when I don’t have enough time or energy to prepare a big family meal from scratch but want a healthy, satisfying meal made in as little time as possible.
To get the full recipe, see the recipe box below the post. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to make these leg quarters!
- Leave space between the chicken quarters to cook them evenly.
- Remember, cooking times can differ depending on the model of the air fryer and the thickness of the chicken quarters. Check the manual if you’re unsure of the cooking times for your model.
- The skin is what gives it that crispy crackle, so I would highly recommend cooking it with the skin. The chicken will also be very dry if you use skinless chicken. You can always remove the skin after it’s cooked.
- Use an oil with a high smoke point. Read more below!
- To ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, use an instant-read thermometer for a reading of 165 ° (74 °C). But keep cooking until it reaches 185 °F (85 °C) for the best results!
- When the chicken is done, remove them from the air fryer basket because the hot basket will continue to cook. Let it rest a few minutes, plate and serve.
How to store and reheat
This recipe is for 2 quarters. You can store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat the chicken quarters in the air fryer, place the quarters in the air fryer for a few minutes.
What are chicken leg quarters?
Chicken quarters are made up of the chicken thigh + drumstick + part of the back, and the drumstick is the lower part of the leg, so chicken quarters and chicken leg quarters are one and the same.
My family fights over dark meat, and chicken quarters are all that. They’re inexpensive, moist and meaty. Chicken quarters are sold as bone-in and skin-on and usually come in packages of 3 or 4 quarters.
Chicken thighs are different in that they are sold as bone-in/skin-on or boneless and skinless or skinless and bone-in. If you’re looking for a recipe with chicken thighs, try this 40 Clove Garlic Chicken Potatoes recipe; if you like garlic, that is. 😉
Chicken quarters are juicier, more flavorful and richer than white meat. Plus, it’s more difficult to dry them out, which makes this recipe foolproof.
Can I use frozen chicken leg quarters?
Sure, but I would thaw them and bring them to room temperature before placing them in the air fryer.
If you don’t have time for that, you can put the frozen chicken leg quarters in the air fryer and cook for 5 to 8 minutes until they are mostly thawed. Then you can add the seasoning rub and continue to cook as directed.
It will take a little bit longer to cook, but you’re starting with frozen chicken.
What to serve with chicken quarters
Like any chicken meal, I like to serve some tasty carbs like Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes or Air Fryer Garlic Fries. Plus, something green like this Green Goddess Salad or Instant Pot Broccoli. And I might even top it off with some Air Fryer Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Why use an air fryer?
Using an air fryer is convenient when you want to make smaller portions than you usually would using an oven.
It’s healthier for cooking deep-fried food items because the air fryer makes food crispy without all the oil.
It cooks quickly and won’t heat up the house in the hotter months like an oven would.
I have over 20 air fryer recipes that range from breakfast sausage and pizza rolls to main meals and desserts!
Here’s a look at some other quick and easy chicken dinners you can make in an air fryer.
Is dark meat healthy?
You may have heard that white meat is healthier than dark meat because dark meat has almost double the amount of saturated fat as white meat. But it’s a small amount, and it has double the amount of healthy unsaturated fat.
I’ve read studies that dark meat is healthier because it has more nutrients and contains more zinc and iron, which is good news, right?
Everyone agrees the skin is unhealthy, but bake the chicken with the skin on to keep the chicken moist! You can take it off after cooking.
Should I wash raw chicken?
Nope! The CDC doesn’t recommend washing raw chicken, which leads to spreading the juices throughout the kitchen and contaminating other food, countertops and utensils.
The chicken should come out of the fridge, get seasoned and go into the air fryer.
How to know chicken is cooked?
It wasn’t long ago that they used to say that when the juices run clear, and the meat isn’t pink, the chicken’s done.
That’s not true today! You can’t just look at the meat; it takes a good digital thermometer to ensure it’s cooked through.
Dark chicken meat is almost impossible to overcook. To be safe, you’ll want to get an internal reading of 165 °F (74 °C). But dark meat gets even more succulent when you cook it to between 185 °F and 190 °F (85 °C-88 °C), so that’s what we’re doing.
Where to put a thermometer in chicken
Getting a good read on an instant-read thermometer can be tricky with bone-in meats. You want to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone or it will give an incorrect reading.
So if you hit a bone, just pull it back about ¼ of an inch.
You’ll want to insert the thermometer toward the end of the minimum cooking time and allow it to remain in the meat for 15 seconds. If it doesn’t come to temperature, place the chicken back into the air fryer for a few more minutes.
Like I said before, dark meat can handle being slightly overdone without drying out.
If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, now is the perfect time to get one since we’ll be going into the holiday season. You can find them just about anywhere for 12 to 20 bucks.
Can I use a different cut of meat?
Sure, you can use the spices on any kind of chicken, but you’ll want to adjust the time and temperature slightly. With this Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast, the cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breast.
That recipe calls for preheating the air fryer to 360 °F (180 °C), and the cooking time is 15 minutes. The recipe today with bone-in chicken quarters is set to 400 °F (204 °C) with a cook time of about 30-35 minutes.
So you’ll definitely want to adjust the cooking time so you don’t overcook the chicken.
What can I use instead of olive oil?
If you use an oven, butter or another type of oil works great. However, we’re cooking with the air fryer, and you will need an oil that can take high temperatures and has a high smoke point.
Extra virgin olive oil isn’t air fryer-friendly because it has a low smoke point, which means it smokes at lower temperatures and will cause food to dry out quickly and prevent it from getting crispy.
You can use extra light olive oil in the air fryer because it has a high smoke point and can tolerate high temperatures.
You could also use avocado, grapeseed or peanut oil to get crispy food in the air fryer.
For the best results, lightly spray or brush on an even coat of oil. You can use an oil mister or spray made with the above oils.
Other easy healthy air fryer meals
I hope you enjoy these air fryer chicken quarters! If you make them, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you think. 🙂
Air Fryer Chicken Quarters
- 2 chicken leg quarters
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon hot or smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 °F (205 °C).
- Mix together the seasoning.
- Coat both sides of the chicken with olive oil and rub on the seasoning.
- Place the quarters, skin side down, into the air fryer basket, taking care that they're not touching.
- Cook for 20 minutes, flip, and cook another 10-15 minutes or until it's reached an internal temperature of 185 °F (85 °C). Let cool for 5 minutes and then serve.